Florida Primary Under Way, Ballots Going Out to Overseas Voters
Around the State
Election supervisors across Florida start dropping the first ballots for the Republican Presidential Primary in the mail Thursday and Friday, sending thousands of envelopes to voters now overseas, many in the military.
Leon County was one of the first to get the ballots in the mail, sending out 238 to voters overseas on Wednesday, Tameka Byer, county election records manager, in an email.
Other counties aren't far behind.
“The deadline is Saturday, so ours are going out Friday,” said Martin County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis, who has about 40 set to go to voters overseas.
Overseas ballots are required to be mailed 45 days prior to the election.
Thousands more absentee ballots, also called vote-at-home, that were requested in Florida will go out starting Dec. 27, as the first bulk mailing must be made 35 to 28 days before the Jan. 31, 2012 primary date.
While some communities, such as Gadsden County, will have other items on the ballot, the vast majority of GOP voters will have eight names to choose from: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; businessman Herman Cain; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Utah governor Jon Huntsman; former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson; U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas; Texas Gov. Rick Perry; former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney; and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
The Republican Party of Florida had to submit the names prior to Oct. 31.
Cain has since suspended his campaign and rumors are afloat across the Internet that Johnson will soon split from the party to run as a Libertarian.
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said she has 178 ballots that will be mailed Friday, 22 going to those in the military and 156 to civilians.
St. Johns County has 67 ballots going out Friday, said Supervisor Vicky Oakes. Orange County has 685 ballots ready to go out on Friday. The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office has 467 scheduled to go out this week.
Florida secretary of state office spokesman Chris Cate said the overall number of ballots from all 67 counties in Florida should be available next week.
Florida is the first big state primary, following the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus, Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary and Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (772) 215-9889.